Monday, March 31, 2014

Rajasthan - The Historical Destination

Rajasthan is a vast state that stretches over 342,000 sq. km. The Aravalli Range bisects the state that runs diagonally from the northeast to the southwest. The main river that runs through Rajasthan is the Chambal. The Thar Desert, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Bikaner, etc are the bustling places of Rajasthan. Jaipur is the capital of this state. Rajasthan possesses opulent palaces and historic sights. Here in this state, tradition and modernity run side by side. There are many enticing places that has attracted the tourists, since time immortal. The natural treasures and the historical legacies of Rajasthan has been the real charm of attraction for the tourists throughout the entire globe. The splendour of the place justifies it as a real part of Incredible India.

Many brave kings ruled over Rajasthan, which narrates amazing legends of bravery. While exploring in different parts of Rajasthan, you can witness magnificent forts and Palaces. These forts and palaces are the legacies of ancient India. The tourists can find numerous forts in Udaipur, Jodhpur and Jaipur. A parallel range of hills runs along Jaipur. There are many fascinating places that can be admired in the Jaipur district. The Jal Mahal is one of them. This was built in the mid of the 18th century by Madho Singh-I. The tourists can view a variety of water birds here. The terraced garden that is enclosed by arched passages adds feathers of beauty to the Jal Mahal. One can also witness the Jantar Mantar. It is described as a realistic and logical landscape with 16 instruments, resembling a giant sculptural composition. Some of the instruments are used to forecast the weather condition.

The travelers can visit the Pushkar valley, which is only 14 km from Ajmer. It is famous for the Pushkar Dham, a well known Hindu pilgrimage place. The Pushkar Lake is a famous lake for the Hindus. Many devotees used to come to take a dip in the lake. The devotees believe that by taking a bath in the Lake they will get rid of the sin that they had committed throughout the lifetime. There are many fascinating temples in the Pushkar valley that have never failed to allure the travelers, since time immortal.

Many tourists from all over the world come to visit the state of Rajasthan during the India tour. Also, there are many heritage hotels that ensure a comfortable stay in this state. Many Palaces have turned into heritage hotels that provide modern amenities to the tourists during their stay in the Palace.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

The History & Legacy of Welsh Gold

Welsh gold is a rare and precious form of gold which is becoming scarcer by the day. There are only 3 mines in the world that have extracted Welsh gold. Clogau gold mine is one of those 3 mines that supplies this one of a kind metal. This mine is situated in North Wales in the Snowdonia mountain ranges. Welsh gold has a unique aspect than other sources of gold because it is has minerals of copper giving it a pinkish hue. Many of the gold mines have either shut down or been turned into tourist attractions because there is very little gold left. Throughout the years several members of the royal family have sought out Clogau gold to use in wedding rings.

As far back as 1923, The Duke of York had 2 rings made out of a single Clogau gold nugget when he married Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyn. Lady Elizabeth's daughter who is now Queen Elizabeth II, also used this gold for her wedding ring. Thereafter using Clogau gold in weddings rings became the royal family tradition. Princess Margaret, Princess Diana, Prince Charles were some of the royal family members who followed suit. Queen Elizabeth II was gifted a kilogram of pure Welsh gold on her 60th birthday. Many celebrities have also been enamored by the uniqueness of this precious metal. In 2000, when Michael Douglas married Catherine Zeta Jones he bought her a Welsh gold wedding ring.

Because pure Welsh gold is so expensive to buy, it is often mixed in with regular gold so people have a touch of it in every piece. This is also how Clogau gold jewellery is manufactured. Most of the gold production from Clogau mine took place during the gold rush of 1862. Clogau mine continued provided a steady source of Welsh gold until 1911. During this period alone, Clogau mine provided 2,442 kilograms of gold. Since then it was reopened for small scale mining operations but they did not sustain because it became too dangerous and costly. There were plans to open the mine as a tourist attraction but even that was impossible because it was too treacherous. There are varying predictions of when the supply of this precious metal will cease to exist.

Because it is prized and valued so highly, each piece of Clogau gold comes with a certificate of authenticity. Most of the Welsh jewellery designs are inspired by Welsh symbols, landscapes and the language. The Sessile oak tree lives for approximately 300 to 500 years and is the national tree of Wales. Because the people of Wales consider this a symbol of their heritage, you will find the sessile oak acorns and leaves in a number of Clogau gold jewellery designs. The Welsh dragon and a number of celtic weaves are also other heavily used designs incorporated into this kind of gold. Popular Welsh phrases such as "Cariad" and "Am Byth" are inscribed on pieces of Welsh gold jewellery. "Cariad" is the Welsh term for love or sweetheart whereas "Am Byth" means forever.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

West Virginia: A Blend of Culture, Art, And Natural Beauties

Enjoy the Endless Fun Events and Activities: Being bordered by five other states, West Virginia is situated in the Appalachian and southeastern region of the United States. This state was formed by breaking away from another state named Virginia during the American Civil War. This is the only state that formed by splitting from a Confederate state and one of only two states that was shaped during the Civil War. In this sense, this state has some interesting historical value. This state is important for its historical coal mining and logging industries, prosperous labor and political history, and diverse ecology and mountainous settings. It is one of the aspired tourist spots with its endless beautiful green forest coverings, rugged mountainous areas, beautiful landscapes, and year-long outdoor activities. The azure blue sky and the green-carpeted earth surface have made it a place that can offer endless fun events and activities. Museums, art centers, shopping malls, restaurants, parks, as well as wonderful natural scenarios have contributed to its touristic centralization.

Array of Cultural, Artistic, and Historical Legacy: One of the main attractions of West Virginia lies in the way it displays its cultural, artistic, and historical legacy. The city Charleston is a place where several art and cultural centers are to be found. These centers have been playing the role of flaunting the best of West Virginian cultures and arts. The West Virginia Cultural Center is situated in this city. This center houses the West Virginia State Museum and showcases the historical legacy by conserving the historical records, archives, and a library completely dedicated to history of the state. It has a gift shop for the visitors and holds a venue for arranging cultural events, performances, and other related programs. The Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences is another venue, which presents the province's cultural legacy. This comparatively modern, three level complex has been established for bringing the enterprises of sciences, performing arts, and visual arts under one single roof. There are thirteen monuments, statues, and memorials built-in the Capitol Complex's grounds for honoring the renowned West Virginians for their great contributions to the state. For celebrating festival, people can join West Virginia Black Walnut Festival. This festival is held annually and is appealing to everybody. Agricultural products, canned goods, flowers, everything is exhibited in this outstanding celebration. The true colors of the province can be found from these celebrations and cultural and historical representations.

Magnificent Landscape Beauty: The landscape beauty of West Virginia is also a thing of great tourist attraction. For enjoying the diversity of geographical splendor, tourists can visit the Potomac Highlands situated in the eastern part of the state. Here is situated the Tygart Valley which serves a scenic ride of the whole area through the railroad. Here is also the historic depot and rail yard that appease the touristic interest. Here is the Seneca Rocks, which is a Mecca for open-air sports buffs. There are several trails that offer hiking, horseback riding, biking, etc. There are also picnic areas and opportunities of watching wildlife. The Canaan Valley has parks and ski resorts and has all the arrangements for the tourists to try all kinds of natural sports. Big Mountain Country is another interesting place that offers sights of steam-powered railroads, observatories related to astronomy, and most of the outdoor sports and activities. In fact, West Virginia is a gold mine for tourists. He, who is really enthusiastic, can find out the treasures it has to offer.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Affects of Service Oriented Architectures and Web2.0 Phenomenon: Evolution or Disruptive Innovation

Wikipedia / O'Reiley defines Web 2.0 as the "second generation of Internet-based services" and while it is technically correct, it does little to communicate the significance of said advances. As used by its proponents, the phrase "Web 2.0" refers to one or more of the following:

  • The transition of web-sites from isolated information silos to sources of content and functionality, thus becoming computing platforms serving web applications to end-users
  • A social phenomenon embracing an approach to generating and distributing Web content itself, characterized by open communication, decentralization of authority, freedom to share and re-use, and "the market as a conversation"
  • A more organized and categorized content
  • A shift in economic value of the Web, possibly surpassing that of the dot com boom of the late 1990s
  • A marketing-term used to differentiate new web-based firms from those of the dot-com boom, which (due to the bust) subsequently appeared discredited
  • The resurgence of excitement around the implications of innovative web-applications and services that gained a lot of momentum around mid-2005
In the opening talk of the first Web 2.0 conference, Tim O'Reilly and John Battelle summarized key principles they believed characterized Web 2.0 applications
  • the Web as a platform
  • data as the driving force
  • network effects created by an architecture of participation
  • innovation in assembly of systems and sites composed by pulling together features from distributed, independent developers (a kind of "open source" development)
  • lightweight business models enabled by content and service syndication
  • the end of the software adoption cycle ("the perpetual beta")
  • software above the level of a single device, leveraging the power of The Long Tail.

Let's take a quick look at one of the representatives of Web2.0 applications, LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a professional (social) networking platform that allows professionals to connect with each other in search of common connections, joint projects, business opportunities, etc. LinkedIn is a web-based application. The value of the service is extremely dependent on participation and the service is powered by the data that its members provide about themselves and their services. The business model is subscriptions, advertising and marketplace driven and the company provides only one product. Other applications representative of Web 2.0 include:

  • Google AdSense - Monetization of content

  • MySpace, LinkedIn - social and professional networking
  • BitTorrent - peer-to-peear content distribution
  • WIKI - user driven content management
  • - bookmark sharing
  • Blogger, Typepad, WordPress - content generation
  • Digg - content syndication
  • - move of enterprise applications to the web
  • Writely and Online Spreadsheets - web-based office applications

Innovations Service Oriented Architecture Service Oriented Architecture is one of the principal components of Web2.0 world and is the thinking behind some of the most innovative Web2.0 applications. In computing, the term service-oriented architecture (SOA) expresses a perspective of software architecture that defines the use of loosely coupled software services to support the requirements of the business processes and software users. In an SOA environment, resources on a network are made available as independent services that can be accessed without knowledge of their underlying platform implementation.( Barry, Douglas K., 2003. Web Services and Service-Oriented Architectures)

The convergence of SOA and Web 2.0, two highly interrelated trends that are very focused on:

  1. connecting people and systems together easily,
  2. making software and data available for reuse via services, and
  3. building new value upon the foundation of existing information resources and IT assets.

At the core of Service Oriented Architecture is the ability of one application to be built on the top of another application (service) and possesses the following characteristics:

  • - interface abstraction
  • - leverage of the existing systems in building new ones
  • - ease of extending the functionality through "mashups"
  • - an elegant implementation of data, logic and interface independence

Situational Software

Situational Software is a term for Rapid Software Development by non-programmers solving a particular business problem. Situational software allows for building such components/application as registration interface, task list, workflow and other functions without knowing any computer language syntax. This is a powerful new development as it exponentially extends the number of users who can develop their own application logic thus lowering the need for IT resources every and providing business functions with a much quicker way to accomplish their goals.


One of the most consistent trends on the Internet is the rise of open APIs and the applications built on top of them, known as mashups. Programmable Web currently lists over 300 APIs that can be used for everything from building Web sites on top of Google Maps to using Amazon's powerful infrastructure APIs for storage and cluster computing. The underlying trend: The desire to easily remix the vast pool of high value data and services on the Web today into useful new solutions, at home and in the enterprise.

Mashups provide a way to combine several existing services with a new User Interface and possibly new logic to create a new application. Examples of mashups are services build on Google Maps, RSS news feeds, Stock information, etc.


Real Simple Syndication (RSS) exposes the data behind a particular news or data source in order to be syndicated by other applications or services. RSS has become incredibly popular in the last few years with nearly every news or information source exposing their content as RSS. This type of content packaging allows the content provider to easily get their wares outside of the immediate readership group and provides an inexpensive marketing mechanism.

Social Networks

Social Networking represents a modern trend in maintaining and developing personal and business relationships. Internet services like MySpace,, LinkedIn, Ecademy are redefining how people go about staying connected and looking for new connections. Proliferation of the social networking sites with increasing specialization tells a story about the acceptance of the concept.


Practically all the applications in the Web2.0 category are taking advantage of collaborative properties offered by the centralized data storage. Some of the most notable implications of this trend is the ability to "associate on the fly" instead of having rigid, pre-determined groups, ability to share and version control documents accessible to groups of people, and finally, ability to assign tasks to the group members related to projects or documents.

Asynchronous Communication (AJAX)

One thing that characterizes Web2.0 class of applications is the fact that they are easier to use then previous generation of applications and start behaving in ways similar to desktop software. One of the difficulties that web-based applications had to face was the "stateful" nature of internet applications. In other words, the page had to be reloaded every time there was a new query to the database. This experience fit well with transactional applications that didn't require a lot of user interaction, but prevented introduction of more complex applications where user interaction was key.

This is now changes with a new paradigm in web-based development, known as AJAX. AJAX is a methodology and technology to enable asynchronous data exchange with the server without requiring page reloads. This approach results in significant speed and usability improvements found in a lot of Web 2.0 applications.

Office 2.0

Office 2.0 applications represent the well known class of applications for word processing, spreadsheets, calendaring, email and collaboration shifted to the instead or in addition to being installed on the personal computers.

Office 2.0 represents freedom from the tyranny of installing software and updates, remembering where you keep your data and your programs (it's all in the cloud with Office 2.0), and dealing with pesky things like admin rights, software versions, virus scanning, and more. Though browser-based software still has its limitations (like what happens when the server is down or you don't have a connection), it's increasingly clear that the network is going to become the pre-eminent location for most meaningful business software, if it hasn't happened already. (Dion Hinchcliffe, Blog)

Web 2.0 in the Enterprise Enterprise computing is far more complex than personal computing. It includes legacy environments, innumerable vendors, mismatched data sources, stringent regulations and far flung users. While Web 2.0 can deliver genuine advantages for both business users and consumers, the real "Enterprise 2.0" will encompass a far broader and more complex vision. (M.R. Rangaswami, The Birth of Enterprise 2.0)

One company that's leveraging the SOA in the enterprise to the fullest is San Francisco based has recently announced it's Apex platform basically providing IT departments with ready to use platform for building logic and tying to legacy systems with seamless integration with it's Customer Relationship Management functionality as well as any other partner driven applications.

Impact of Web 2.0 and Service Oriented Architecture (SOA)

The impact of Web2.0 and SOA is going to be very significant on a variety of industries.

With the advent of Service Oriented Architecture, Situational Software and Mashups, creation of applications is becoming faster, cheaper and available to a much wider audience. This phenomenon has a potential to reduce the specialized IT workforce required to churn out often redundant, lower-level code and bring the emphasis on creating business logic by those who possess immediate domain expertise.

Acceptance of Service Oriented Architecture inside the enterprise is allowing said enterprise to deploy software solutions much quicker, thus providing a competitive and productivity advantage. With this come shorter IT development cycles and more creativity in developing and utilizing applications. It's likely that the days of huge, monolithic ERP software applications are counted as each department is striving to deploy what's best for its needs without being stuck with a global roll-out which can take years to accomplish.

New web-based office applications such as Google Calendar, Writely, on-line spreadsheets and on-line Wiki's are making it possible for the user to enjoy much the same benefits brought to them by current Microsoft Office applications, for free or at a much lesser price, while providing an extra layer of functionality through collaboration. This trend will allow more and more underprivileged societies to participate in digital economies and will provide an extension to the office application for those wishing to collaborate.

Blogs (RSS) are providing a way for everyday people, specialists and companies to distribute information without needing to be associated with a news source. Whether done for marketing, public relations or fun, blogs are becoming a great mechanism for knowledge management and dissemination changing the way people go about getting information to improve their lives, careers, businesses, etc...

Because of the shift of access control and storage to the network, the services provided by the client operating system are going to become less relevant. With the advent of SOA applications, the client operating system is being reduced to supporting the browser and networking functions. The browser on the other hand is going to undergo continuous enhancement process improving its support for browser-based programming, asynchronous communications and Javascript processing.

This brings us back to the main question of this paper, namely "is Software Oriented Architecture a natural continuation of the existing technologies with minimal effect on the underlying industries or does it represent a disruptive innovation".

Disruptive Innovation

Clayton Christensen defines disruptive innovation or disruptive technology as a technological innovation, product, or service that eventually overturns the existing dominant technology or product in the market. A new-market disruptive innovation is often aimed at non-consumption, whereas a lower-end disruptive innovation is aimed at mainstream customers who were ignored by established companies. Sometimes, a disruptive technology comes to dominate an existing market by either filling a role in a new market that the older technology could not fill, or by successively moving up-market through performance improvements until finally displacing the market incumbents"

If we were to look at the innovations that Web2.0 and Service Oriented Architectures are introducing and apply the definition above to gauge the disruptiveness factor, we would find that most of the innovations listed here indeed qualify as disruptive:

New Technology/Product

Old Technology/Product


On what basis?


Traditional or Software Encyclopedias


Cost, Easier to use, universally accessible

Online Word Processors & Spreadsheets

Microsoft Office


Cost, adds new area of functionality (collaboration)


Microsoft SharePoint; Web sites


Cost, adds new area of functionality (content management)

Online CRMs

Oracle, SAP


Cost, available to users who weren't served before




Cost, fill role old technology couldn't fill

Social and Business Networking Applications

New market


New, fills the role old technology couldn't fill

Situational Software

IT departments, small consultants


Cost, fills the role old technology couldn't fill

Software as a Service (SaaS)

Traditional Software Applications


Fills the role old technology couldn't fill

Peer-to-peer Lending

Banks and Credit Cards


Cheaper, more convenient


With Wikipedia is rapidly gaining popularity, and while the opponents argue about the accuracy of information on this open source information resource, it's definitely eating fast into traditional and software encyclopedia market.

(Traffic statistics in reach per million internet users, Alexa)

Online calendars, word processors and spreadsheets eliminate the cost of having to purchase Microsoft Office applications, while providing collaboration capability not found in lower-end office applications.

(Online Calendar Application from Google), a web-based CRM/ERP solution offering quick deployment options to corporations in addition to a much palatable pricing when compared to the traditional stalwarts like Oracle and SAP, has signed up over 100,000 corporate customers in less then 5 years on the market.

Conclusion Web2.0 and Service Oriented Architectures are having a tremendous effect on the world around us, specifically how we collaborate, how we communicate and how we innovate.

Web2.0 is changing the way software is designed and developed. Gone are the carefully planned software cycles. After the first version of the software is opened to public, the functionality grows continually in short incremental updates and the value grows proportionately to the usage.

What's even more important, however, is that they are becoming a threat to a lot of established firms and technologies. The largest end-user operating system vendor Microsoft is under a threat as a lot of its Windows system services become unnecessary due to the tasks being transferred to the network layer. Media reporting has to reinvent itself to compete with a cheaper albeit less dependable source of news, the bloggers. Software development organizations are facing a threat from new breed of service based applications. Large software powerhouses, like Oracle and SAP, are under siege from the new entrants into the ERP space with the most well-known of them,, reinventing the business models and proving to be extremely effective at winning the market share away from the traditional ERP vendors.

SOA applications in general have a tremendous capacity to change the landscape of many industries through changes in the product development lifecycles, harnessing innovation and introduction of the new business models.

The large incumbent software companies and media conglomerates are understanding the threats and opportunities provided by the SAO/Web2.0 generation of products and services as evidenced by a few high-profile acquisitions (Siebel by Oracle, MySpace by Newscorp, JotSpot by Google) and in-house development of competing SAO applications (Microsoft Office Live, SAP hosted services) The question remains whether the incumbents are flexible enough in their business models to be able to embrace the SAO movement or will the new entrants be able to capture large markets with the new SAO/Web2.0 technologies. Bibliography:

Leveraging the convergence of IT and the next generation of the Web, Dion Hinchcliffe

The Birth of Enterprise 2.0, M.R. Rangaswami

Paul Graham (November 2005). Web 2.0. Retrieved on 2006-08-02.

Tim O'Reilly (2006-07-17). Levels of the Game: The Hierarchy of Web 2.0 Applications. O'Reilly radar. Retrieved on 2006-08-08.

Jürgen Schiller García (2006-09-21). Web 2.0 Buzz Time bar. Retrieved on 2006-10-29.

Jeffrey Zeldman (2006-01-16). Web 3.0. A List Apart. Retrieved on 2006-05-27.

Tim O'Reilly (2005-09-30). What Is Web 2.0. O'Reilly Network. Retrieved on 2006-08-06.

Dion Hinchcliffe (2006-04-02). The State of Web 2.0. Web Services Journal. Retrieved on 2006-08-06.

Tim O'Reilly (2002-06-18). Amazon Web Services API. O'Reilly Network. Retrieved on 2006-05-27.

O'Reilly and CMP Exercise Trademark on 'Web 2.0'. Slashdot (2006-05-26). Retrieved on 2006-05-27.

Nathan Torkington (2006-05-26). O'Reilly's coverage of Web 2.0 as a service mark. O'Reilly Radar. Retrieved on 2006-06-01.

Tim O"Reilly. 9-30-2005. Design Patterns and Business Models for the Next Generation of Software.

Barry, Douglas K. (2003). Web Services and Service-Oriented Architectures: The Savvy Manager's Guide

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Greek Architecture

Architecture in ancient Greece was usually done with wood or mud-bricks, so their ground plans are the only evidence of their existence. Greeks established most of the most enduring themes, attitudes, and forms of western culture. Architecture is one of the Greek legacies that the western civilization has inherited, as Greece established many of the structural elements, decorative motifs, and building types still used in architecture today.

The two main styles of Greek architecture are doric and ionic. The doric style is much more disciplined and austere, whereas the ionic style is more relaxed and decorative. There was a strong emphasis in building temples for the Greek mythological gods and goddesses. But, there were also well known public buildings like the Parthenon.

Building materials used were limestone and some native stones. Highly expensive marble was used mainly for sculptural decoration found in grand buildings of the classical period. The roofs of their buildings were made up of timber beams covered with overlapping terracotta or occasionally marble tiles.

The structure of ancient Greek architecture consists of a basic cube or rectangle, flanked by colonnades, and a long sequence of columns. Building will have a pronao or a portico that open up to a large open court peristyle. Greeks used very little of the principles of the masonary arch, individual blocks bound together by mortar. The front end of the roof has flat triangular shaped structure, the pediment which is usually filled with scultural decoration.

Temples are the best known form of Greek architecture. The altar of the temple was usually found in the sacred fane, an enclosure, in front of the temple. The inner building of the temple, cella, served mainly as the storage room. The other common public builds of the Greek architecture are gymnasiums, the palaestra, and theatres.

In ancient Greece, architects were hardly treated as valuable master craftsmen, unlike today where the architects are closely associated with the work they produce. And moreover, architecture was not seen as an art form, as it is in modern times.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Low Maintenance Organic Landscaping Using Blueberry Plants

You have always wanted a great looking landscape to brighten the yard. But who has time to spend every free minute caring for the yard? With some planning and a little know how it is easy to cut down on the drudgery of yard work. Having an easy care landscape means you must develop a realistic plan. Trees and shrubs give substance to a landscape and flowers provide excitement and surprise. You can enjoy the fruits of near effortless edibles including blueberries and strawberries. Blueberries are a low maintenance plant. They have few pest and are native to North America. They require a soil pH of 4.6 to 5.1.

Take a look at your landscape
Knowing the physical characteristics of your site, the soil, climate, topography, and exposure is a vital part creating and maintaining a low maintenance landscape. Choose well adapted plants to design a functional, attractive layout for your yard.

Some factors like climate you have no control over and it affects your whole yard. Other factors you have some control over, Like the amount of shade which can differ widely in different parts of the yard. Growing plants can be a breeze if you have deep, fertile soil rich in organic matter. But even if you don't (very few of us do) you can still have a productive low maintenance yard. You can decide to improve your soil by adding organic matter or using raised beds and adjusting the soil pH if needed. You can also look for plants that are adapted to your soils existing conditions. Raised beds can provide ideal growing conditions for a variety of vegetables, bushes, and flowers. Where the soil has poor drainage raised beds can solve that problem.

Test your soil. Your local extension service can provide a test for a sample you supply. Test results will tell you the soils fertility, pH, and organic matter content. Getting your soil in shape before planting will go a long way toward promoting healthy, trouble-free plants in the future.

Reduce maintenance on tough to mow slopes by replacing turf with a mixture of low care flowers and shrubs such as low growing easy maintenance blueberry bushes and using a mowing strip. For example, North Country blueberry plants grows 18 to 24 inches tall or North blue blueberry plants that grows to a height of 20-30 inches could be good selections.

Reduce mowing chores by replacing some of the lawn with shrubs, trees or ground cover. Eliminate grass growing under or along fences and walls and low branching trees. The kind of grass you grow has a lot to do with how much maintenance it requires. There are grasses that do not grow tall and thus require minimal mowing.

For example, No mow grass ultra low maintenance grass. Eliminate hours of lawn mowing and lawn maintenance each month with Pearl's Premium grass. Pearl's Premium grows slowly above ground. Below ground, it can put down 12" roots, tapping into naturally occurring moisture and nutrients. This type of grass will reduce watering requirements and a lot of mowing. Mow only when it needs it not on a regular weekly or bi-weekly schedule.

End edging forever- For the busy person trees, shrubs and flower beds can quickly turn into a night mare. The shaggy edges that form between planting and the lawn area can give any area an unkempt look and be a real pain to trim. Mowing strips are the solution. A mowing strip is a flat band of brick or flat rock that sits flush with the soil surface and you just mow over the area eliminating the need for the hand or string trimmers to cut the grass at the edge of the of the bed. You just let one wheel ride on the strip and the other on the lawn.

Ground cover
Utilizing ground cover can help to change a bare or dull part of your yard into a beautiful, low maintenance show area. Low growing ground cover plants can serve you well in some areas. For example in our yard we had a rock area that we could not mow and looked ugly. We let low growing ground cover plants grow over this area to transform it into a beautiful area that required essentially no care. You might consider RUBY CARPET a ground cover blueberry plant. The height of the ruby Carpet plants grow to be 4 to 6 inches at maturity and spread outward to create the Red Carpet. Ruby Carpet is selected for form, color and resistance to dryer soil conditions than most blueberry plants.

Blueberries make a beautiful delicious Landscape
When planting blueberries as part of your landscape you should consider combining them with other plants that thrive in acid soil such as azaleas, rhododendrons and camellias. The following are some example of plants you can consider.

Legacy blueberry plants grows 4 to 5 feet tall and can create 4 seasons of interest in your landscape. Spring brings white flowers that develop into shiny green fruit which turn bright blue in the summer. Smooth, glossy-green leaves look attractive all spring & summer in the fall they produce beautiful orange-red leaves.
Sunshine blue is a short plant that is very suitable for growing in a landscape or in containers.
Ornablue grows about 3 feet tall and is considered to be the best ornamental of its size and stature.
North Country grows 18 to 24 inches tall and is an outstanding blueberry plant for landscapes and container growing.
North blue, grows to a height of 20-30 inches. It is good for landscapes and container growing. It's large glossy, dark green leaves turn dark red in the fall making it of good ornamental value.
Patriot grows 3 to 5 feet tall and is also an excellent container and landscape variety. It is also a very good producer of fruit.
For tall hedges you want to use for privacy use the faster growing, upright varieties such as Jersey, or Ozark Blue. To make solid hedges or screens, place plants 2½ to 3' apart.
Rabbiteyes grow tall so they can make excellent plants for areas you want to screen off for privacy. Tifblue is considered among best rabbiteyes.
Blueberry plants grow slowly, and grow about a half-foot a year on mature branches. The plants are multi-stemmed with new shoots often developing from the base.

Eatable landscaping
Recently edible landscaping has received more attention. Part of the reason is because of the well documented health benefits and another is because of the economics of growing your own fruit and vegetables. Raised beds can provide an excellent controllable space to grow blueberry bushes and vegetables. Anyone who has eaten really fresh produce knows a food-producing garden is worth the effort. It is surprising that it hasn't caught on earlier. It's such a brilliant way of taking advantage of the little bit of land that many of us have but usually use strictly for ornamentals. Blueberries make a beautiful delicious Landscape. Blueberry plants can serve as ornamentals while also being grown as a food source.

Border plantings and along Walkways
You can plant shrubs along the borders of your property that can serve several purposes. Serve for privacy, eliminate grass growing under or along fences and the related mowing problems, serve as perimeter border to define your property boundaries while at the same time beautifying you landscape. If you use eatable bushes such as blueberry bushes you are can grow blueberries for your health and enjoyment. Ornablue blueberry plant can serve this purpose well and is considered to be the best ornamental varieties of its size and stature.

Border plantings along walkways or surrounding a planting bed can work well, choose Sunshineblue, Ornablue or Northcountry. These can be planted along with dwarf rhododendrons or compact azaleas. All three of these blueberry bushes will grow well in Kentucky. Ornablue is considered to be the best ornamental variety of its size and stature. Northcountry will grow well all the way up to growing zone 3. The Sunshine blue blueberries we planted on our properties in Kentucky and Tennessee have turned out to be pretty much evergreen bushes the year around. Rhododendrons and azaleas can be planted along with blueberry plants to blend into borders or serve as a prickly hedge.

Choosing Blueberry Plants to grow
Purchase your plants state-inspected reliable nursery. Bare root plants are usually sold by most nurseries unless you pick the plants up at the nursery. you obtain plants to be planted in the spring or fall. What is important is to plant them when they're dormant, either well before or well after they start new growth of leaves, blossoms and berries.

Usually two-year-old potted or bare-root plants are sold by nurseries and are your best purchase. Older plants may give you a harvest sooner, but they are generally not cost-effective because of their added expense and can be harder to establish. Younger plants need to be grown under nursery conditions before they can be planted in the field.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Xbox 360 - Definitely A Different Gaming Console

It just happens like clockwork - one company sees the market, makes a best selling gaming console, and others follow suit. While Microsoft Xbox 360 may not be able to claim to be a pioneer over its competitors - Nintendo, Microsoft, and the-then viable Sega - there could be no doubt that the gaming industry would have been a much different landscape without the Xbox.

The Xbox's hardware resembles more of a personal computer than a traditional gaming console, and it's not that big of a mystery considering that the Xbox itself is based on common personal computer hardware architecture.

First, to clarify: the Microsoft Xbox 360 is not the same as the just the Microsoft Xbox as both consoles have different hardware architectures. The original Xbox console was discontinued in late 2006, just in time for the 360 to take up its slack as early as May 2005. The original Xbox was the first video game console to use an internal hard disk for saving game progress and content download from the Xbox Live, an online service accessible to Xbox players where they can download update patches, media and other content, legacy, homebrew and paid downloadable games and most importantly, the technology to allow players to play with as well as against each other online.

This online service is probably one of Microsoft's most important legacy to the console industry: the ability for players to compete online was something that had opened a whole new floodgate in the console gaming community, and general reception was very well received. And although the concept had been replicated, it was the Xbox that had set the standard for all gaming consoles to follow.

The aurally sensitive might also note that the Xbox was one of the first to use Dolby Interactive Encoding technology, which meshed very well with the multimedia capability of the Xbox (being able to play DVD's as well as other popular formats such as MPEG-2, MPEG-4, WMV). It also pioneered the "breakaway cables" safety feature to prevent the console from being accidentally pulled by its controller and come toppling down the floor.

Even the Xbox 360 itself has undergone several editions, with its current incarnation called the Microsoft Xbox 360 S, although commercially it's still being marketed as just plain moniker "Microsoft Xbox 360".

The Xbox 360 marks noticeable improvements from its Xbox predecessor, most noticeably with more powerful processors and exponentially larger hard disk capacities with every version, but the really noticeable changes come from the inclusion of the wireless controller on their 2007 pro versions and above, and the much anticipated recent release of the Kinect accessory add-on just late 2010.

The Kinect was supposedly Microsoft's answer to Nintendo's Wii. Like the Wii, the Kinect enables the player to interface with the 360 and its games with motion sensitive gestures. Unlike the Wii, the Kinect can also read spoken commands, as well as recognize certain objects and images, and the whole Kinect supposedly more sensitive to motion than the Wii.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Iberian Cool - The Hip Hangouts In Spain


Budget airlines have brought us a step closer to Europe and the climate has always been a pull for us pasty northerners, but recently, the Iberian cities don't seem to be out of the press. A whole new world of style has been born in Spain.

Chef Ferran Adria leads the Spanish cullinary scene with his globally revered, triple-Michelin-starred restaurant, El Bulli, situated on a remote, rocky beach 2 hours from Barcelona. His vociferous support for Spanish produce, Sherry and wines has made the rest of the gastronomic world sit up and take note and has propelled Spain to new heights of international respect. The list of fantastic restaurants and bars within Spanish borders is endless, but we've put together a selection of not-to-be-missed venues for a weekend in the sun.


Ibiza or Eivissa, depending on where you emanate from, is Spain's most famous island and its double name is mirrored in a peculiar split personality that has developed over the last ten years. It is known as the clubbing capital of the world, drawing music connoisseurs from across the globe for its jaw-dropping DJ line-ups and its range of superclubs that hold thousands. At the same time, thanks to reality shows like 'Ibiza Uncovered', the so-called Isla Bonita is burdened with a reputation for attracting the worst element of Brits abroad. Lary lads and loose lasses stumble through the streets of San Antonio wreaking havock, making mischief and collapsing in a heap at the end of the night. But beyond all of this, there is a very sophisticated element of Ibizan life - a third personality that escapes most of the tourist trade. A new generation of bars have evolved into world class venues with slick interior design, atmospheric lighting, extensive cocktail menus and some of the best resident DJs in Europe.

When the Warhol bar opened in December 2001, its mission was to attract the stylish and beautiful, and now anyone who's in the know in the music, fashion or media worlds can be found flocking to it for album launches, catwalk collections or photoshoots. The Base Bar continues to draw the music buffs and Café Mambo on the opposite side of the island has stolen the glory from Café Del Mar next door as the best place to watch the sun go down. Wine Bar is a new development, whose proximity to Pacha nightclub has sealed its future as an all-year fashion hang-out where you can dump vodka limóns in favour of fine wines and Fino. Then there's cushion-strewn Mao Rooms, from London's Chinawhite crew, which has become a first class lounge on the Ibiza scene.

For food, L'Elephant is the island's top French restaurant, located in the small town of San Rafael just outside of Ibiza Town. Sa Capella is a beautiful and impressive restaurant housed in a 16th Century church resplendent with stone statues, foliage and faultless service.

La Casita in Cala Llonga is a sleek and stylish terrace restaurant serving gastronomically inventive dishes from its old farmhouse location.


Physically compact, yet culturally enormous; bohemian, and at the same time ultra chic. Barcelona is one of those cities that is all things to all men. It's hub of creativity, with internationally renowned art galleries, designer shops and architectural delights that are second to none. Glitzy modern façades juxtaposed with the unique contorted architecture that is Gaudi's legacy. Delightful squares and meandering boulevards that invite you to amble along for hours, glancing in the designer shops north of Plaça Catalunya. Then break your journey in the basement bodegas and tapas bars of La Rambla. In the summer, you can relax beachside at one of the scores of bars and restaurants along the Mediterranean coast of the Olympic port, dining on morning fresh seafood with a cold Manzanilla at your side. Aqua is a favourite hangout with bleached wooden tables and chairs spilling onto the beach front. For something more urban, Lupino, in one of the graffiti-ridden backstreets of the Raval district, is a fashionable spot with an alfresco terrace in similar style to one of London's Hoxton haunts. Its slick, warmly lit interior is in direct contrast to the industrial carpark and the boqueria market that it looks out onto. The gourmands would prefer to venture into the commercial district to critically acclaimed Comerç 24 (closed in August), where the El Bulli trained chef, Carles Abellan, serves fantastic modern style tapas to a well-to-do professional crowd. For those of a more adventurous nature, a trip into Mount Tibidabo will provide views over the bustling city. A day at the theme park on high can be followed with drinks at Mirabelle and then completed with cocktails and dancing at the converted mansion known as Partycular. The sophisticated Eixample area offers a number of trendy escapes such as lounge bar Smooth, with its awesome selection of wines and Sherry, and velvet-clad Snooker, which won design awards when it opened a decade ago. El Ascensor in Ribera attracts the beautiful young things and with any luck you'll be caught in the lift with one of them as you ascend to the modern designer club.


It's big and bustling, it's loud and crowded, lascivious characters skulk in dark corners, and taxi drivers will try to rip you off. It's a capital city and no mistaking it. Slap bang in the middle of the Spanish mainland, Madrid is hot - and with none of the forgiving sea breeze that blesses Barcelona, the teracotta cityscape looks practically kiln-baked. But it's not all stress and strife. The best place to start relaxing is in Paseo del Prado, the expansive promenade that puts all of the city stress on hold. Down the spine of the Prado are three gurgling fountains that are fed by a subterranean stream. Adjacent to Prado is the beautiful, landscaped Retiro park, alive with street performers, bandstand and boat rides on its artificial lake. Sandwiched between the two is the botanical garden, an oasis of peace at the nucleus of the city. Café Miranda captures the spirit and colour of Madrid. Modern European cooking accompanied by a vampish dinner show with drag queens and a psychadelic decor. Drag queens feature at Gula Gula (Gran Via 1) too, where eating at the self-service buffet is a colourful and entertaining experience. A more sophisticated option is La Vaca Veronica where market-fresh ingredients are combined to terrific results.

For something on the fashionable tip, Larios Café is a glamorous spot and its delicious Cuban cuisine is popular with the arty designer crowd. But if you're looking up-market then Salamanca is the area to head for. The Beverley Hills of Madrid, Salamanca is awash with high class restaurants and glitzy bars. El Mentidero de la Villa (C/Santo Tomé 6) or grandiose Pedro Larumbe (C/Serrano 61) for exquisite fish, Estay for contemporary tapas or Boulevard for quaffing with any A-listers that are in town. Another trendy getaway is El Viso Madrid (C/Juan Bravo 31) set on a number of floors with a beautiful terrace bar, basement club and a very well-heeled young clientele.

For a change from the norm, La Ida is a funky, chilled bar with no signage to give it away and an unconventional interior design. Frequented only by those 'in the know', it's definitely worth seeking out.


It is the flamboyant heart and soul of Spanish culture and a city that lives for tradition. From religion, which is embedded in its very essence, to football, politics, food and drink, the Andalusian capital thrives on its roots. Bull-fighting and flamenco are at the centre of its cultural calendar. And tapas is simply the done thing, for it was in Seville that the global obsession was born.

Languishing at Spain's southern tip, the sun-baked streets bask in the glory of a near-tropical heat. It is explosively colourful and architecturally stunning, its foundations carved from a multitude of occupations that span three millennia. The people smile, things move ever so slowly and mañana never seems to come.

A weekend is simply not enough in Seville. You need time to stroll around from tapas bar to tapas bar, soaking up the atmosphere and the locally made Sherry; to meander along the river at sunset, stopping to crack open a bottle of Amontillado to mix with the rays of a sinking sun; to wander through the charming squares and the winding, cobbled streets of the Jewish quarter; and to drift from one hip bar to the next in trendy Alameda.

Restaurants are less commonplace than in Barcelona or Madrid and Tapas bars take precedence. Egaña Oriza (C/San Fernando 41) combines bar and restaurant with elegance blending Basque and Andalusian cuisine in an expansive early 20th Century terazza.

Another magnificent dining experience is La Albahaca - an exclusive townhouse which serves imaginative Spanish fusion dishes. Casa Robles serves gourmet Sevillian cuisine and is favoured by the Spanish royal family. Its sister restaurants Robles Placentines and Robles Tapas offer a less formal environment. La Colonial de Vinos y Viandas (C/Valpaiso 13) is the place to head for Spanish wine lovers - an amazing array of wines are accompanied by Cuban cigars and tasty tapas. Or try the inventive Mediterranean cuisine at La Madraza (C/Peris Mencheta 21), where you can titilate your taste-buds while gazing at the artworks on the walls which double as a gallery space.


Fifteen years ago, Bilbao was just a busy port and an old iron mining town. Fondly called 'Botxo' by the locals (Basque for 'hole'), Bilbao escaped becoming a hole (literally) in the 90s with the gentrification of the dock area and the creation of such cultural magnets as the Guggenheim Museum and the concert hall, the development of the park, and the Sir Norman Foster designed metro system. The best way to get the most out of Bilbao is by way of a Txikiteo (the local version of a pub crawl) with a glass of Sherry and a plate of tapas in each bar. Alternatively, go top-end with Michelin-starred Zortzika - the lunch menu is best value. There's also relaxed, but fashionable El Perro Chico, which looks out onto the recently cleaned river. Tapas bars tend to be more on the dark traditional side, but Harizki (Ledesma 7) goes against the grain offering gourmet style dishes in a slick, bright interior. As with other bars around Calle Ledesma, this place stays open a little later than the rest of the city. Worth a visit too is Artajo (Ledesma 4), where locals swear by the mussels in anchovy sauce.


The people of Jerez live for Sherry. Flamenco is a favourite pass-time and while drinking and dancing are woven into the fabric of life, it still remains a relatively peaceful and unspoilt part of Spain. Beaches and mountains are within reach at either side, vineyards and orange groves surround it and the ruins of once magnificent castles punctuate the landscape. It is a beautiful and ancient city, which despite being serviced by the no-frills airlines, still manages to evade mass tourism.

The wide avenues of the city centre are full of shops and tapas bars are everywhere. Pass by Las Bridas for the kind of portions that you can share around or head for La Abacerio (Plaza Rafel Rivero) for a lively evening in alfresco surrounds. Good tradicional cuisine is to be had at Gaitán or El Gallo Azul (Calle Larga) for something a little more experimental. And whatever you do, make time to visit one of a many bodegas that are open for Sherry-tasting tours. It's an unforgettable experience and one that will ensure you go away itching to come back.


One of the most fashionable places in Spain to holiday, San Sebastian couldn't be further removed from the cheap resorts of the south. Golden beaches are beautifully maintained, landscaped parks and gardens, majestic mountains and the thrashing seas of the Bay of Biscay combine to dramatic effect. Designer shops keep the spendthrift upper classes happy as do some of the finest bars and restaurants in the country. Arzak is at the top of the list of restaurants to visit for the foodies (you are recommended to book at least a month in advance). Chef Juan Mari Arzak is often at your side to help you decide on dishes which change daily. Akelarre with its mountain location and views over the Atlantic offers a combination of traditional local cuisine and modern Basque interpretations and is not to be missed. All of the late night action happens in Parte Vieja, where tapas bars line the streets (try La Cepa, Martinez, Ormazabel and Gaztelu all on C/Agosto) and you can dance and drink until the very early hours.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Old World Historic Destinations


Egypt is the cradle of one of the world's oldest civilizations, rich with ancient treasures, pyramids, tombs and temples. Moreover, it is the fusion of various cultures and religions that survived and co-existed peacefully for so many years that give Egypt its unique identity.

Archaeological sites, Pharaonic tombs, ancient temples, vibrant bazaars and sailing down the Nile are only some of the experiences that will give the traveler an insight into the historically rich tapestry that weaves this amazing country. The beauty of Ancient Egypt, the stunning Mt. Sinai at sunrise, camel trekking into the desert with local Bedouins, donkey rides into the Valley of the Kings makes for some of the most exotic and cherished experiences you will ever encounter. In a journey of a lifetime, indulge into the truly memorable expedition across Egypt's sandy deserts to the spectacular Gilf Kebir, location of the famous Cave of the Swimmers, romantic and remote landscapes following the great explorations of the Long Range Desert Group and Count Almasy.

While Sinai is an area of outstanding natural beauty, delicate eco-systems and home to many Bedouin villages, a visit to Luxor will take you to the depths of the ancient wonders, Valley of the Kings, and the famous Karnak Temple. The Pyramids, Tomb of Tutankhamum and the wind sculpted rock formations, cliffs with corals and fossils dating back millions of years are some of the other highlights that make Egypt as a tourist destination and truly one of the wonders of the world.


Greece is the true amalgamation of cultures, colors and civilizations that are not only diverse in nature but rich in history and heritage. Much before most of the world was still trying to break out of its cocoon Greece was known to have already developed its birthright through the elements of chaos, drama, tragedy and democracy. Combined with its deep respect for its ancient traditions, it still believes in the proclivity to partying, an inheritance that has been brought down from the Dionysos.

It is a land of contrasts and ecological value, endowed with a rich and diversified natural environment - legacy of a rare geomorphology. The country's abundant natural gifts that include thousands of indented coasts, imposing rocky massifs, caves, gorges, lakes, rivers, biotopes of spectacular beauty and unique natural habitats have made Greece a truly unique and popular tourist destination.

Greece is full of ancient archeological sites and monuments of distinctive charm. The rich cultural and historical mosaic has left its impression on every region of the country emphasizing the diverse manifestations of the Greek tradition to date. The Acropolis of Athens, Monastery of Aghio Oros, Temple of Epicurean Apollo, Thessalonica and Monastery of Meteora are the sites characterized as the monuments of cultural heritage. Among its more ancient attractions are the navel of the cosmos at Delphi, fallen columns on the sacred island of Delos, frescoed Minoan palaces on Crete and remnants of Atlantis at Santorini.


China situated in eastern Asia and bounded by the Pacific in the East is the third largest country today and one of the four oldest civilizations in the world. It has a written history dating back 4,000 years and boasts rich cultural relics and historical sites.

China claims to be the inventor of the compass, paper and gunpowder as well as having built three ingenious engineering projects 2,000 years ago that include the Great Wall, the Grand Canal and the Karez irrigation systems. Now they represent the rich cultural heritage of this mighty Chinese nation.

It has a 9000 mile coastline where scenic rivers like the Yangtze meander their way from the northern and central mountains to the oceans of the east. The diversity of this nation is vast and unique, in that we see western winds blowing across desert sand dunes, pandas munching bamboo forests in central highlands and rice terraces climbing mountains in the south.

Beijing, one of China's thriving communities has been confirmed to have existed since the last 3000 years. In the year 1215, it was established as the capital of the newly declared Yuan Dynasty by the Mongol leader Kublai Khan. It was during his rule that the city truly blossomed - imperial palaces were built, streets broadened and temples as well as canals were built. Beijing's major attractions include the Forbidden City, Jing Shan Park, Tiananmen Square, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace, Mansion of Prince Gong and Hutongs.

The Yangtze River is known as China's "Mainstreet." For thousands of years, this 4,000-mile river provided a vital and only link between China's seacoast and the rich, fertile lands of inland provinces.

China will always be linked to its ancient civilization, friendly people, and many of the world's most revered treasures, such as The Great Wall, Terra-Cotta Warriors and Horses and the Yangtze River. Even today we find impressive architecture and towering skylines in Shanghai and Beijing, luxury accommodations as well as exquisite cuisine.


India is a vast country with a rich cultural heritage and a diverse historical background. An amalgamation of different ethnicities, traditions, cultures and languages has manifested into many architectural wonders that makes India the land of the unique and the exotic. Its first civilization flourished almost 5000 years ago along the Indus River. The journey since then has been colored with hundreds of rulers and dynasties helping to shape India as we know it today.

In a country as diverse and complex as India, people here reflect the rich glories of the past, the culture, traditions and values relative to geographic locations and the distinctive manners, habits and food that will always remain truly Indian. The colorful mosaic of Indian festivals and fairs - as diverse as the land, is an eternal expression of the spirit of celebration for the Indian people.

India is set apart from the rest of Asia by the Himalayas, the highest, youngest and still evolving mountain chain on the planet. The subcontinent as it is rightly called, touches three large water bodies and holds every kind of landscape imaginable. An abundance of mountain ranges and national parks provide ample opportunity for eco-tourism and trekking, and its sheer size promises something for everyone.

From north to south India extends a good 2000 miles and represents a diversity that is distinctive and spectacular, ranging from the snow covered Himalayas in the North to the sun-drenched beaches of Kerela in the South, from the Rajasthan deserts in the West to the lush forests of north Eastern India. The Taj Mahal in Agra, Meenakshi Temple in Chennai, Arjuna's Penance at Mahabalipuram, Bharathiyar Illam in Tamil Nadu, the Hawa Mahal, Amber fort and Jantar Mantar in Jaipur, the Ajmer Sharif in Ajmer and many more make up for the unique attractions that India has to offer. Honeymoon getaways, hill stations, pilgrimage sites, wildlife sanctuaries, and beach resorts, there's something for every traveler in India


Italy has long been recognized as a country full of historical and cultural attractions. Two-thirds of the world's historical artistic heritage is in Italy. Rome, the Eternal City, contains the ruins of the Roman forum and Coliseum as well as the independent state of the Vatican City with its famous Sistine Chapel. Naples is close to the ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum, and Mt. Vesuvius is another famous attraction. Florence has been a centre of the arts since the fourteenth century, and has many museums and art galleries along with the Pitti Palace and Ponate Vecchio. The town of Pisa is home to the famous leaning tower and Sienna with its ancient piazza and cathedral is a must see. The majestic Alps in the north, the soft and green hills of Tuscany and Umbria, the romantically rugged landscape of the S Apennines and the Bay of Naples, dominated by Mt. Vesuvius are some of the world's most famous sights.

Italy is also known as the land of la dolce vita (the sweet life) and is one of the world's most loved travel destinations. Whether it's culture, gastronomy, haute couture, or simply the art of dolce far niente -- doing nothing and just soaking up the atmosphere - this is a country for lovers of all that is good in life.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

SaaS System Top 10 Design Issues

Software as a Service (SaaS) is a new software delivery and business model for ISV's.

The SaaS delivery model involves delivering the application as a service, over the Internet.

The SaaS delivery model requires that the application either be designed from the beginning as a Multi-Tenanted (MT) SaaS application, or be a Single Tenanted (ST) application re-engineered for Quasi-SaaS operation. These features differentiate SaaS applications from the legacy ASP/Hosting model. They also differentiate SaaS applications from the Virtualization model, which has very little to do with SaaS and is more concerned with datacenter efficiency.

The SaaS business model involves an agile, Internet application based business that leverages advanced software architecture to quickly build a large user base at relatively low initial cost per user.

Taking a conventional application package and providing it as a hosted service (legacy ASP-Hosting model) is not SaaS. Even adding Virtualization does not constitute SaaS. If a hosting company hosts 100 separate instances of a software package, there are 100 software instances to install, maintain and (worst of all) customize. This model is not scalable and fails at low numbers.

The importance of SaaS is that it represents a complete paradigm shift that gained momentum around the year 2000 for the development and delivery of application software. SaaS is now reshaping the ISV landscape, leading to considerable re-organization within the software package industry.

To realize the SaaS opportunity, SaaS System designers/developers have to overcome the following, Top 10 design issues/challenges:

1. Multi-Tenancy
How to design an application that supports hundreds/thousands of companies.

2. Security
How to ensure that customer data is secure and that there is complete separation of data from one Tenant Company to the next.

3. Scalability
How to develop an application that can cope with say, 1,000 companies and 30,000 individual end users.

4. Availability
How to develop an application that can consistently delivers 99.5+% availability.

5. Performance
How to develop an application that can deliver